So this week delivered another enjoyable episode of Shokugeki no Soma. I would say it’s my favorite one so far this season. With only one more episode to go, and its plot largely set, I think this trend will continue and this season will finish off on a much stronger note than it began.
So this week’s episode spends most of its time at Kojirou Shinomiya’s new restaurant, Shino’s Tokyo. As expected, Soma gets assigned to work there and shows up while the restaurant is still being prepped for its pre-open. Shinomiya, at first, isn’t too happy about having to babysit a student during such a critical time for his new restaurant, but he appears to be satisfied with the arrangement once he sees Soma arrive.
Soma begins his first day helping with cleaning and setting up the restaurant. He gets introduced to three main staff members, from Shinomiya’s flagship restaurant in Paris, who come to assist with the opening. The members are Wei Gao, the Service Manager, Lucie Hugo, a chef in charge of meat dishes (including seafood), and Abel Blondin, the Head Chef of Shino’s Tokyo. As it’s only a temporary assignment for Wei and Lucie, they plan to return to Paris after things start to settle down. It isn’t mentioned, but I assume Shinomiya will likely go back and forth between each of his restaurants periodically.
Soma is assigned to be Lucie’s assistant, and is tasked with prepping ingredients for the other chefs. Other than one incident near the end of the episode, he isn’t allowed to do any of the cooking. Right from the start, Soma struggles with the cooking terms that are used, with preparing ingredients in a sufficient manner, and all in all, with keeping up with the kitchen’s fast pace. This earns Soma a constant stream of criticisms and warnings from the Head Chef, Abel.
To remedy this, Soma stays up each night at the restaurant reviewing and practicing cooking techniques. He also finishes all of the preparation work before anyone else arrives the next morning, and then uses this saved time to ask a bunch of questions about the areas he’s struggling with.
Since it appears that Soma is staying over at the restaurant each night, it makes me a little worried if he’s getting any sleep. It’d be bad if he were to make a mistake or pass out due to the lack of sleep, but considering how fired up he currently is, that doesn’t look likely to happen. Soma is having fun absorbing a variety of new things about cooking. He’s also channeling this new knowledge to help himself develop his own style and specialty.
Despite making countless mistakes and getting constantly chewed out by Abel, Soma doesn’t lose heart and manages to keep working. Towards the end of the episode, Soma even improves to the point of being able to prep ingredients before the chefs even ask for them (much to their astonishment). At one point, as I mentioned earlier, Soma is allowed to make the soup when all the other chefs are too busy to work on it.
The episode ends after the fourth night of the pre-open. It appears to be a success so far, and Soma has largely earned the acknowledgement of the other chefs. However, rather than leave it at that, Soma asks Shinomiya for permission to participate in the final night’s competition to decide on a new menu item. Shinomiya warns Soma that he might lose all of his newfound confidence, but allows him to participate.
I thought it was somewhat surprising how hands-off Shinomiya was with Soma’s training. I was kind of expecting him to be very tough on Soma, and to boot him out of the kitchen if he made any big mistake. Instead, he leaves the coaching to Abel and Lucie. Throughout the whole episode Shinomiya doesn’t offer Soma any advice, and other than one warning about not making loud, unnecessary noises, he doesn’t chastise Soma for any of his mistakes either.
The staff talk about this early on in the episode, but Shinomiya is a lot more mellow and patient than he used to be. This is largely due to his shokugeki match with Soma and Megumi back during the first season, and it’s also why he has a certain level of trust in Soma’s ability as a chef.
So next week will be the last episode of Shokugeki no Soma’s second season. In addition to the final night of the pre-open, Soma will also be participating in a competition to potentially determine a new menu item for Shino’s Tokyo. I’m not sure if Shinomiya will also participate in this competition, but it should be interesting to watch Soma put to use all of the knowledge he’s accumulated over the week.
Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma The Second Plate
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